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Are You Ready for Social Media?

The online marketing world moves in waves, with the majority of businesses following a trend not because it is fashionable but out of commercial necessity.

  • Going online, just to be online.
  • SEO was king for many years.
  • Then it was Adwords.
  • Blogging came next.
  • Now it is Social Media that is gaining all the attention.

In the past competitiveness and innovation played the largest part, but I have no doubt worries about the global economy are driving the most recent moves.

Although Social Media has been growing steadily for a few years, it seems now most businesses are looking towards these tools and services to find a good ROI alternative to their offline marketing, without the heavy prices that Adwords require in many niches.

Is Social Media the solution that you are looking for?

Why Social Media?

There are many advantages to social media over and above just “Traffic”:

  • Modern version of traditional PR.
  • Speed up your reaction times.
  • Super-efficient word of mouth marketing.
  • World wide focus group.
  • Instant answers to business or technical questions.
  • Brand awareness.
  • Be on top of market news and moves.
  • Grow your network.

There are also valuable indirect benefits. Attention creates the opportunity for links and traffic, which drives search rankings, which in turn will attract people who want what you offer. Buzz does not need to be the end you strive for, but can also be a means to an end.

But there are also pitfalls:

  • Social Media can spread bad news too.
  • Pitch and promote approach will meet with resistance. Traffic to direct offers seldom convert well, you need to find a new way to bring attention to your products and services.
  • The chit-chat aspect can be addictive. Use Twitter best practices.
  • This stuff takes time and experimentation.

What to Do?

We are still at the beginning with these tools, there are no rules. The best social media strategies for each type of organization or individual are still being developed. There are though guidelines that you can use to make sure you get the most out of all this social media stuff:

  1. Have a purpose, direct your efforts. Unguided meandering will just cause you to get bogged down.
  2. Give before expecting anything in return. The most generous, genuine and valuable are those who’s ideas spread best.
  3. Monitor your reputation. Use tools like TweetDeck, Google Alerts and Twitter Searches to see who is talking about your brand keywords and why. Respond appropriately.
  4. Measure your ROI and do more of what works.
  5. Experiment. Keep learning from case studies and good examples.

As always, I recommend you link all your social media activity back to your blog or website. Bring people back home, and give them good reasons to stick around. Build up your own base of loyal and egaged advocates.

Whatever you do, do not abandon what has been working for you and is still providing returns. Find ways to integrate the new stuff rather than throw out good tactics just because the new stuff is, well, new.

  • Create valuable content and optimize for search engines.
  • Engage your subscribers and customers.
  • Grow your links and referrals.
  • Build your lists.

Survey

Mike Stelzner is running a Social Media Survey and I am really looking forward to the results. If you take part you can get the results too. Take the survey here.

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Comments

  1. Chris,

    A great tool I’ve just started using to measure how effectively I’m using Twitter is Twitter-Friends.com.

    I’m doing a 30-day experiment on a specific methodology (using TweetDeck) to increase my reach. Will keep you posted.

    John

  2. Chris,

    A great tool I’ve just started using to measure how effectively I’m using Twitter is Twitter-Friends.com.

    I’m doing a 30-day experiment on a specific methodology (using TweetDeck) to increase my reach. Will keep you posted.

    John

  3. I would throw in that we need to begin with the big dogs – the primary social networks rather than obscure ones. You can join 100 random ning networks, or Twitter. Twitter will be better because it’s the most mainstream tool of its kind. Branch out into secondary networks after being established in the major ones.

  4. I would throw in that we need to begin with the big dogs – the primary social networks rather than obscure ones. You can join 100 random ning networks, or Twitter. Twitter will be better because it’s the most mainstream tool of its kind. Branch out into secondary networks after being established in the major ones.

  5. Thanks for the link to Twitter Friends John. Great little tool

  6. Thanks for the link to Twitter Friends John. Great little tool

  7. Richard – you’re welcome!

  8. Richard – you’re welcome!

  9. Hey Richard! Nice pic. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It’s all really the basics of the Golden Rule, right? You treat others the way you want them to treat you. The only challenge was how you do that at a distance and without seeing them sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    So treat people right and you shouldnn’t go too far off the mark. ๐Ÿ™‚

    All the Best!

    Regards,

    Erwin Chua

  10. Hey Richard! Nice pic. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It’s all really the basics of the Golden Rule, right? You treat others the way you want them to treat you. The only challenge was how you do that at a distance and without seeing them sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    So treat people right and you shouldnn’t go too far off the mark. ๐Ÿ™‚

    All the Best!

    Regards,

    Erwin Chua

  11. Great advice on how to use Social Media effectively. Love the five points of advice – they are all absolutely necessary!

  12. Great advice on how to use Social Media effectively. Love the five points of advice – they are all absolutely necessary!

  13. Hey Chris,

    Great summary — you cut to the chase as always!

    One point is that there are other tools to monitor brand reputation, including high end apps that are commercially available. For those interested Nathan Gilliatt put together a list of 60 or so.

    http://www.socialtarget.com/research/guide.html

  14. Hey Chris,

    Great summary — you cut to the chase as always!

    One point is that there are other tools to monitor brand reputation, including high end apps that are commercially available. For those interested Nathan Gilliatt put together a list of 60 or so.

    http://www.socialtarget.com/research/guide.html

  15. One tool that can help you to monitor your reputation on Twitter: http://splitweet.com (and you can manage multiple Twitter accounts too).

  16. One tool that can help you to monitor your reputation on Twitter: http://splitweet.com (and you can manage multiple Twitter accounts too).

  17. I’m still new at Twitter and so far, all I’ve been doing is posting announcements of my new posts.

    I don’t see too many options on my dashboards. Are there any?

    I’ll check that Twitter-Friends.com

  18. I’m still new at Twitter and so far, all I’ve been doing is posting announcements of my new posts.

    I don’t see too many options on my dashboards. Are there any?

    I’ll check that Twitter-Friends.com

  19. Does anyone have figures as to how much actual revenue businesses are making through Social Media? ROI numbers on Facebook Ads, is Twitter leading to product sales etc etc?

    I don’t mean this in a confrontational way at all (more just curious) but I’d be interested to know if Social Media is adding to the bottom line of businesses…other than those businesses directly involved in Social Media?

  20. Does anyone have figures as to how much actual revenue businesses are making through Social Media? ROI numbers on Facebook Ads, is Twitter leading to product sales etc etc?

    I don’t mean this in a confrontational way at all (more just curious) but I’d be interested to know if Social Media is adding to the bottom line of businesses…other than those businesses directly involved in Social Media?

  21. The old method of advertising is interactive marketing. The term is misleading. Most people think it means that there is some type of interaction on the part of the person advertised to, and there is. But, it is not conversational. Instead, the advertiser wants you to interact with their campaign in a specific set of steps. Following the call to action and visiting a website for instance. It’s the push to make you do something. Live this image. Buy this now.

    Social Media Marketing is just the opposite. It’s the pull of the tribe. The tribe already has your trust so the actions they take are ones you align with. On a larger scale, it’s the allure of belonging in the group as you take action together. “I am doing this so why don’t you do it with me?” On an individual level, the attraction is to behave the same way to get the same results that benefits your fellow tribeswoman or tribesman. “She looks hot! I want to look hot too. I want to go to her hairstylist” and you do. Social Media Marketing uses the power of attraction.

    While advertising tries to use the same tactic, with a billboard for instance, of a gorgeous woman telling you the benefits of the salon, it doesn’t have the same impact because it’s pushing you to go. It is not pulling you in as a trusted friend. Your friends have your best interests at heart and advertisers do not. Social Media Marketing is based on building trust and that foundation will make Social Media a dominant player in Marketing.

  22. The old method of advertising is interactive marketing. The term is misleading. Most people think it means that there is some type of interaction on the part of the person advertised to, and there is. But, it is not conversational. Instead, the advertiser wants you to interact with their campaign in a specific set of steps. Following the call to action and visiting a website for instance. It’s the push to make you do something. Live this image. Buy this now.

    Social Media Marketing is just the opposite. It’s the pull of the tribe. The tribe already has your trust so the actions they take are ones you align with. On a larger scale, it’s the allure of belonging in the group as you take action together. “I am doing this so why don’t you do it with me?” On an individual level, the attraction is to behave the same way to get the same results that benefits your fellow tribeswoman or tribesman. “She looks hot! I want to look hot too. I want to go to her hairstylist” and you do. Social Media Marketing uses the power of attraction.

    While advertising tries to use the same tactic, with a billboard for instance, of a gorgeous woman telling you the benefits of the salon, it doesn’t have the same impact because it’s pushing you to go. It is not pulling you in as a trusted friend. Your friends have your best interests at heart and advertisers do not. Social Media Marketing is based on building trust and that foundation will make Social Media a dominant player in Marketing.

  23. You make some very interesting points here.

    I have made it my goal to use (and understand) social media much more in 2009 than I did in 2008. The power and expanse of it is quite scary; you just never know where information posted on Twitter or Facebook will end up.

  24. You make some very interesting points here.

    I have made it my goal to use (and understand) social media much more in 2009 than I did in 2008. The power and expanse of it is quite scary; you just never know where information posted on Twitter or Facebook will end up.

  25. Hopefully, there’s not another new trend for awhile. Because the web is always evolving the learning curve never ends. The amount of data we process on a daily basis also seems to grow on a daily basis. Where is the happy median so you can have balance in your life as a whole?

  26. Hopefully, there’s not another new trend for awhile. Because the web is always evolving the learning curve never ends. The amount of data we process on a daily basis also seems to grow on a daily basis. Where is the happy median so you can have balance in your life as a whole?

  27. I agree with you Chris, social media efficiency takes time and experimentation, and there’s more, it will “swallow” your spirit in your earliest visits there, when your network is still countable by fingers. The question is, can we regenerate the spirit?

  28. I agree with you Chris, social media efficiency takes time and experimentation, and there’s more, it will “swallow” your spirit in your earliest visits there, when your network is still countable by fingers. The question is, can we regenerate the spirit?

  29. As mentioned above, it’s about giving, and content and engaging, but it’s also about your personal bandwidth. There are so many outlets that 24 hours a day is not enough to cover all the bases. Finding those core avenues for your communication (they may differ for each user) and focusing your time there will reap the greatest benefit.

    And don’t expect everyone to respond with enthusiasm, just be true to your message and you will naturally find those who really love what you’re up to and be evangelists for your cause. Just remember to do the same in return!

  30. As mentioned above, it’s about giving, and content and engaging, but it’s also about your personal bandwidth. There are so many outlets that 24 hours a day is not enough to cover all the bases. Finding those core avenues for your communication (they may differ for each user) and focusing your time there will reap the greatest benefit.

    And don’t expect everyone to respond with enthusiasm, just be true to your message and you will naturally find those who really love what you’re up to and be evangelists for your cause. Just remember to do the same in return!